The meeting this Thursday between Pablo Casado and Antonio Garamendi was uncomfortable, after the clash on account of the pardons that has distanced in recent weeks the leader of the PP and the boss of the employer’s association. It was the first time that they spoke together at a public event, after Casado described the businessmen as “accomplices” for their support – then nuanced – for the pardons and revolted against their participation in the public debate on the grace measure. And the tension has remained present in a way. Both have participated this Thursday in a round table organized by the summer school of the Association of Autonomous Workers (ATA), where the leader of the CEOE wanted to make an express gesture of affection towards the opposition leader, telling him to count with your “collaboration” and “trust”. But Casado has charged Garamendi against the pension reform that the employer’s leader has signed this Thursday together with the unions, and has criticized the “toxic propaganda” that the Government makes of the social dialogue agreements, of which he also the CEOE leader participates.
Casado and Garamendi have staged unity after their estrangement in recent weeks, although it has been the CEOE leader who has turned the other cheek the most. The image was the message, with the two sitting at the same table, side by side, next to Lorenzo Amor, president of the self-employed. The leader of the PP has wanted to show with that image that he does not have a problem with businessmen, after an unprecedented and surprising clash with his natural allies, including the Church.
Garamendi’s response to Casado
The boss of the employer’s association spoke first, and began by defending the participation of businessmen in public life, which could be read as a response to Casado, who even said that businessmen “do not represent anyone”, since the National sovereignty resides in Parliament. But immediately afterwards, Garamendi has insisted on the message with which he tried to rectify his support for the pardons to the independence leaders after the uproar and the attacks he received from the right. “We defend the Constitution, the rule of law, the rule of law and the parliamentary monarchy,” Garamendi abounded today, although that does not mean opposing the measure of grace, which is also contemplated in the Constitution. His express gesture of approaching Casado came shortly after, when he addressed a few words of affection. “Telling the president of the PP that he can count on our collaboration, we have an attitude and a very important line of trust, we will continue to have it, as always,” said the CEOE leader. “I wish the PP the best because for us the main opposition party is key also because the Constitution also says that in Spain alternation is good when it touches,” he added.
The leader of the PP has not returned the compliment, and on the contrary, he has launched several messages that question to some extent the performance of the CEOE. The clearest, his criticism of the first pact on pensions that the social agents and the Government have signed, in an act chaired by the president, Pedro Sánchez. “The pension reform is a big mistake. It goes against a successful pension reform of the PP in consensus with the members of the European Council “, has defended Casado before the boss of the employers, who has validated with his signature that agreement. The current system that the Government is now going to reform in agreement with the employers and the unions “proposed a sustainability factor and a fundamental revaluation index for intergenerational solidarity and transparency towards the pensioner,” the PP leader stressed. “It’s good that they tease us. Zapatero indexed pensions to the CPI and froze pensions. The PP introduced a sustainability factor and raised pensions by 16% on average in its seven years in office ”.
Casado has also criticized before Garamendi the public events with which the Government and social agents have staged the agreements during these months. “I absolutely respect the decisions of the employers and the unions,” the leader of the PP started, before adding: “But I also have to say that the Government is making toxic use of the propaganda of communication of all the agreements to which wants to arrive. Never has a government been seen that abused so much when communicating to the public opinion that it reaches agreements ”. Just an hour and a half after the start of the round table that brought together Casado and the head of the CEOE, he planned to participate in the event together with the signing Government on the latest pension agreement.
The president of the businessmen has not responded to these messages from the leader of the opposition, who has also insisted on his opposition to the pardons with an argument that links them to economic investments. “It causes a legal uncertainty that investors take into account”, defended Casado. Garamendi, who only spoke at the beginning, has not spoken again after hearing Casado’s criticism. It was about showing the meeting after the disagreement. And it has not departed from that script. Garamendi’s gesture was serious, but both were seen at the end of the act chatting with Lorenzo Amor in front of the cameras, they have taken a family photo and they have left talking until they get into their respective official cars without saying a word again journalists amid a tangle of cameras.